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Box needs all of the help it can get in preparing for its debut on the public market, and it’s turning to open-source for an assist.

The file-sharing software company announced a new initiative today to release some of its technologies under open-source licenses. It showed off ways to improve the MySQL database, a document viewer, and a toolset for automating some code tests. Box has previously bragged about some of its 20 open-source projects, but not all of them.

Box has used open-source software for years to run its applications, but now the company has a “formalized open-source initiative committed to giving back to the community,” Benjamin VanEvery, the principal technical operations developer at Box, wrote in a blog post about the move.

Promoting its software-development kits (SDKs), monitoring tools, and other code now out in the open is a good step for at least two reasons. It could help attract talented programmers, and it could advance application development on top of of Box’s stuff.


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It could make developers more comfortable with the idea of building applications using Box as the underlying platform, which is a key area of focus. Open-source is increasingly the standard in big web shops, and Box is not special in wanting to be a big web shop.

Plus, Box continues to add to its engineering team, and bringing more of them to GitHub pages to collaborate on code could serve as a recruiting tool.

These are especially important as the company deals with competition from startups, public companies, and, oh, just a little company called Dropbox. (Kidding — Dropbox wants to go public soon, too, and it recently managed to get a line of credit in excess of $500 million for itself.)

Box filed its S-1 paperwork last month.

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